Last weekend, April 24th, 25th, and 26th, myself and over 60,000 other country music fans from all over the US made their way out to Indio, CA looking for one hell of a good time at the ninth annual Stagecoach Music Festival.
More than 60 artists graced the event’s three stages, Mane, Palomino, and Mustang, all appropriately titled with an equestrian-themed, throughout the 72 hours of the festival. The amount of talent that performed at this year’s Stagecoach Music Festival was astronomical! If you were not able to be there, here are some of the acts that you missed:
Cam, Brothers Osborne, Parmalee, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Merle Haggard, Kip Moore, Jake Owen and Tim McGraw. Clare Dunn, Nikki Lane, Old Sal Union, The Cadillac Three, Cassadee Pope, some of the cast of Nashville, ZZ Top, Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. Maddie and Tae, The Swon Brothers, Frankie Ballard, Jerrod Niemann, The Oakridge Boys, Sara Evans, Goerge Thorogood and the Destroyers, The Band Perry and Blake Shelton.
Day 1-Ready to get the party started!
The first day kicked off with 60K+ country music fans making their way into the Empire Polo grounds ready and rearing to go for the weekend long country music festival/party. Those attending the festival were happy to get a break from 100+ degree weather this year…but don’t let the cooler weather fool you, there were still plenty of short shorts, bikini tops and guys with no shirts everywhere you looked!
Friday afternoon was kicked off by up and coming country artists Cam, Logan Mize, and Brothers Osborne. Into the evening, artist Parmalee, Kacey Musgraves, Kip Moore, and Jake Owen took the stage, getting the crowd pumped and ready for Friday nights headliner, Tim McGraw.
There were a lot of first timers this year at Stagecoach, Kasey Musgraves being one of them. That didn’t keep her from packing the Mane Stage with her glittery tights and teal boots, kicking off the evening with the first song she released to the world, Merry Go Round. She preceded, tambourine in hand, for a few more songs while the crowd got a little more sunburned. She told the crowd that “people at Stagecoach know how to follow their arrow” followed by performing her hit “Follow Your Arrow.”
On the Palomin stage, it was country legend, Merle Haggard’s second performance at Stagecoach and the tent was busting at the seams, bumping with classics such as “Mama Tried,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and his signature hit “Okie from Muskogee.” He could have filled the shoes of the Mane Stage by far…maybe next time!
McGraw showcased a set of songs spanning from his 20+ year career as he gave the audience insight into the background of many of his songs, letting the crowd know that that “Just to See You Smile” was one of his favorite songs he has ever recorded. He recounted playing the demo for his wife, Faith Hill, who encouraged him to record the song.
Day 2-The festival’s in FULL throttle…
Saturday everyone was ready for day 2 and it proved to be just as exciting with performances by, Clare Dunn, The Cadillac Three, Cassadee Pope, Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, and Dierks Bentley getting the crowd ready for Saturday’s headliner and my personal favorite, Miranda Lambert.
Fellow first timers, The Cadillac Three, flying in the night before all the way from Louisiana to bring a little rock n’ roll to Stagecoach Saturday afternoon. They opened with the song “I’m Southern,” which got the crowd pumped and ready to party for the evening, making them dance, headbang and wave their hands in the air!
Followed by Cassadee Pope, also her first time at the festival, proved she will ‘not back down’, belting out Tom Petty’s popular hit as well as the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” which she dedicated to the California desert crowd. As the winner of Team Blake in 2012 on NBC’s hit singing competition, “The Voice”, she held the reputation of a pop star, TV contest winner, who had not yet paid her dues to the country music industry. Pope has the talent AND the looks to make it in country!
We all know Dierks Bentley doesn’t want to be the only one to have fun and he proved that on Saturday night, pulling someone from the crowd and brining them on stage to shotgun a beer with him! His fans agree he was an unexpected highlight of the festival and he was having so much fun, he even forgot a few of the lyrics, but his fans didn’t mind filling in for him!
Miranda Lambert brought girl power to Stagecoach, opening the show with the video for her duet with Carrie Underwood, followed by a short clip of history-making women which led right into her song hit single from June, 2012, “Fastest Girl in Town.”
Lambert performed many hits from her collection, from “Famous In A Small Town” to “Little Red Wagon.” She stated how cool it was that there was a festival that celebrates country music, attended by all different kinds of people as she proceeded to play “All Kinds of Kinds.”
Day 3-And still going strong!
The crowd rushed through the gates to secure their spots in anticipation, waiting to hear the last day of the star studded line up. Although it was the third day of the festival, it didn’t stop fans from continuing the weekend long party appropriate as the evening’s headliner was country music’s biggest drinker, Blake Shelton.
And the day did not disappoint! Kicking off the final day was country duo, Maddie & Tae followed by Keith Anderson, The Swon Brothers, Frankie Ballard, Jerrod Niemann, Sara Evans, and The Band Perry all taking the stage to keep the crowd entertained as they waited for Blake.
The crowd was pumped and cheered when Shelton finally took the stage. “I know it’s Sunday night,” he told them. “I don’t give a crap! There’s still country music to be performed up here!”
Blake took his fans down memory lane as he performed hit hits throughout the years, seeing how well they really knew his music. Gwen Sebastian came out to sign “Your Eyes” and he sang old favorites “Austin” and “Red”, ending the night with and encore of “Boys Round Here and Footloose.”
Shelton shared what it was like looking over the thousands of fans at Stagecoach. “That’s like a million people. I’m nervous now,” he said. “When I get nervous, I tend to drink a little bit just to calm my nerves… get over it.” And I’m sure he did…leave it to Blake to close out Stagecoach like a class act.
Highlights: American Flag EVERYTHING, The Palomino Side Stage (more on that to come!) and artists cover songs…this year Jake Owen did both Sublime’s “What I Got” and the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song on Friday night. The Band Perry took on Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” on Sunday. Fans agreed hands down that the bluegrass men of Old Salt Union and their rendition of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” was their favorite!
Lowlights: No duet by Blake and Miranda!
With the 9th Annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival behind us, we can only anticipate what they will have planned for us next year as we celebrate 10 years of Stagecoach! We can’t wait to do it again next year! Thank you Stagecoach!